I thought for some time about how to respond to your letter. My privacy and my livelihood are endangered by your continued investigation into my life – the “Laurents,” really? The more you send people to check up on me, the greater the danger that my secret will be revealed. The people I work with have been so kind to me, and I don’t want them to think less of me for my past.
At the same time, however, I must admit I’m relieved to hear from you. Even after the way we parted, I haven’t stopped thinking about our last conversation. I worried that you might do something drastic and foolish. Your actions in recent days were disturbing, and I worried that you might truly be losing your mind, as your sister claimed in her announcement. Even with the knowledge that I have now, that you are involved with the Silver Ravens, I worry about the wisdom of attacking such powerful enemies.
I’m still upset that you kept your plan a secret from me. You speak so passionately about freedom, but my mother always taught us that knowledge is freedom – dirthara revas. Without knowing the facts, how could I decide what I truly wanted? Although it’s hard for me to believe that you would want me to just be a kept girl, it was also hard for me to believe that you would show up covered in blood with a stab wound. I always felt like you were different, and what Madame told me…I suppose it confirmed the things I had always feared. It seemed like you were the same as all the others.
But I think there are parts of this story I’m missing, and I need to know the truth. You mention a “first letter,” but this is the only letter I have received from you. Could someone have kept it from me? I know some of the other girls were nosy, but I couldn’t imagine that they would hide something so important from me. Also, how did you raise that much money in such a short time? I highly doubt your family would give it to you, and when left to my own imagination I fear the worst.
But even with all my worries and fears, Corthos…I care for you immensely. I care for you in a completely different way than any of the others I knew in my former life. My greatest hope is that we can come to some common understanding, because even after all that has happened, I’ve missed you. I’ve wanted to hear you speak Elven to me in your charming broken way. I want you to be happy, but most of all, I want to be the person that makes you happy.
Ma dirthara ghilani. Ar lath ma, vhenan.
I must admit, I was quite surprised to have you contact me. I had not expected to hear from you. I had not been aware of any attempts to further intervene in your life, and I have very little idea as to who the “Laurents” may be – though I have my suspicions. I have several people around me who are good-hearted, but short-sighted. I had not written you intentionally since you left the Lion, as per your request, and I have no interest in putting you at risk. I am glad that you are surrounded by people who treat you well and with kindness. You have deserved that.
However, even if our connection was brought about without my intent or knowledge this time, I am beyond relieved to hear from you. I have done many brash and foolish things since we last met, and you are – honestly – right to worry about my decision to face larger foes. I have fought Red Jills and Dottari both, I have run alongside the bellflowers, and I have looked at much more terrifying enemies. But I do not do this alone, and I am surrounded by men and women who trust me and assist me. I am a leader to some, a dear brother to others, and I swear that they will not fall while I fight for them. They watch for my life in the same way I watch for theirs.
Yes, I understand that knowledge is freedom. That is why you and you alone knew the truth to Aldo Mondragon. But when the time came, there were things I hid because I feared for your safety in knowing them. I sent a letter explaining, I tried to speak with you, but I wanted to give you the information when you were free to make your own decision – when your contract had already been bought out. To have you decided before that would have made it seem that I was holding a leverage over you. It was not my intent to deceive you, but I did not want you to decide without a true freedom to do so.
There was a letter prior to this that was sent directly to the Lion on the same date that I sent payment for your contract. It was carried there by a dear friend, a young half-elf who acts as my messenger. She stated it had been delivered directly to Madame Charmaine herself to be sent to you. As for the money…you are correct, my family was never even told of my plans. They would not have given me the cost anyhow. A good amount was raised during my travels with the Ravens, selling anything that we recovered. The remainder was won from Fabian Varasi during a duel – not to worry, I did not kill the boy. I wounded him as badly as he wounded me, but then terrified him into yielding. That was why I did not deliver the letter and payment myself.
Merrigold, I did what I thought was right to try and be right by you. I would love nothing more than to see you again, or to spend another hour listening to you sing your sings, or to sit and sip tea and talk of the various rumors, or to feel the softness of your hair and inhale the pleasant scent of your perfume. I would be ecstatic to watch you react to my butchering of your language, my clumsy attempts. I’ve missed you each day, and I have had you on my mind. You are my drive, and I want only to be the man that you think I am. I understand if we cannot meet yet, but just knowing that you are doing well is enough. I will discuss the intrusions with my associates – know that they likely thought they were doing good.
The words and sentiments I want to convey, I would mangle trying to put into your language. I know that you do not understand why I hid things from you, but I did what I thought needed done. It was never my intent to hurt you – that was the furthest from my thoughts. I will remain at a distance for as long as you wish – I could never live with myself if I put you at risk.
With all of my love,